Syracuse University
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Maggie Jiaman Peng '21

photo of Maggie PengNever one to sit idly by, Maggie Peng ’21 reacted to the interruption of her spring semester at Syracuse by creating a whole new platform to build a summer work experience for herself and other students. “When the pandemic started people were scrambling because internships were being cancelled,” she recalled. Through networking, Maggie and students at other universities co-founded Indoor Recess, a student-led advertising competition. In their first summer of operation, they secured clients like Color of Change, Twitch, and Disney Music Group.

Maggie has even adapted her other Syracuse activities. She serves as President of SU Globalists—a student-run magazine with the tagline “Where your story is celebrated”—where she served as Editor-in-Chief her junior year. With Study Abroad activities cancelled at the university in the fall of 2020, Maggie and her team have directed the essayists to focus on remote learning experiences throughout the world and even in unique locations within the U.S.

Maggie Jiaman Peng, a two-year recipient of the Syracuse University Greater China Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund, was born in Sichuan, China, grew up in Shanghai and attended high school in the state of Connecticut in the United States. “Originally, I was considering studying graphic design because I liked being creative and self-expression,” she says. “When I got to Syracuse and started exploring a variety of classes, advertising seemed to be at the intersection of my interests: problem solving and understanding people. In a way, it’s curiosity-driven research.”

She’s “dipped her toe into a lot of things” at Syracuse: singing, playing the violin, business courses. “I like trying different things and seeing what I’m good at and what I’m not,” Maggie says. “When you have a steep learning curve you come out with more skill, greater empathy or understanding of how to help people learn and stretch.”

Now a senior, Maggie is reflective of her Syracuse experience and her international upbringing and wants to share her perspective with a wider audience. “When you do things like study abroad or attend university in a different country, it forces you to really think about cultural differences, and in the end you become more patient and adaptive. It’s a great skill to build. After graduation, I want to continue to help build international community in advertising.”

Maggie is still weighing her post-graduation options, and while advertising powerhouses like New York City are still on her short list, she is more and more open to exploring all sort of locations in the United States and throughout the world. “I want to put myself in a new environment.”